Selling a bike on Craigslist
August 6, 2014 4:01 AM   Subscribe

I have a 2006 women's Schwinn Voyageur GS hybrid/comfort bicycle that has been gathering dust in my living room for the last six years. Is this even worth bothering trying to sell on Craigslist, or should I just donate it to the local bike rescue?

According to that site, this originally retailed for $329.99. That sounds about right. (I bought it new.) There is some wear on the front of the bike (head tube?) where the bracket for the front basket rubbed, but I don't think it has any other issues. I'm assuming I should get it dusted off and tuned up at a local bike shop before trying to sell it. That should run me at least $50 if nothing needs replacing.

I have the original front wheel, but the one that's on there now has a a Shimano generator hub (DH-3N71) that powers the front light - I'd sell it all together or separately, whatever works.

What could I expect to get for a bike like this on Craigslist? If I get it tuned up first, am I likely to get that money back out of it? I'm in the Albany, NY area (so a bit less than 1 million people in our metro area), if that gives you a better idea whether Craigslist will be worthwhile. There aren't currently too many local listings on Craigslist for bikes of this type, and I'm not sure how applicable the listings I can find from other cities.

Any advice for selling a bike on Craigslist (or elsewhere) would also be appreciated. Thanks very much!
posted by fussbudget to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go to your local bike shop instead. They often buy and sell older bikes.
posted by deathpanels at 4:05 AM on August 6, 2014

The overhead for selling a bike on craigslist is basically zero so I don't see why not? I'd forgo the tuneup. Do clean it up as well as you can before hand, a clean bike will go for more than a dirty one. Windex and paper towels is a fine way to clean a bike indoors.

I think if you're lucky you might get $100 for it, maybe $50 at the lowest. I'd list it at $100 at least to allow for bargaining, maybe even a bit higher. If you get no hits, list it again lower, no big deal.

A bike shop is not going to offer you much for it, because they're not going to be able to sell it for much. I mean, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to see what they offer but I wouldn't expect much.
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:08 AM on August 6, 2014

Oh and my advice for selling on CL: lots of pictures, and reasonably good quality ones. I've sold a lot of stuff on CL and ebay and if the pictures are good people are more interested. I'd also include any info you have on the bike (model, year, maybe a link to bikepedia for the model, something like that). Whether to include retail price is up to you - I probably would. $100 for a $330+tax bike is a nice deal.
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:09 AM on August 6, 2014

As a recent convert to the joys of CL, I would buy your bike for $75-$100, assuming I was in the market for a bike.
posted by sarajane at 6:41 AM on August 6, 2014

Nthing the advice to pump up the tires, clean it off, and lube the chain. High resolution pictures! Get shots of the drivetrain and brakes. You don't indicate how much the bike was ridden, so that will affect how much you can ask for it. Was it locked outside, ridden in the rain? If it's on the nicer side of that spectrum, you could *possibly* get closer to $100 for it, but I would just ask for $80 to get it out of my house.

Also, I don't know what bike shops in the SF area are like, but in NYC, many shops will not buy secondhand bikes. As it is, we have people walking in, offering to sell us wheels and stuff for scratch ("Oh yeah, I just found it.").
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:32 AM on August 6, 2014

I shop for bikes on CL and the more details the better. You'd be amazed at how few people mention the size! I would list yourself as "original owner" and "barely used" (if true) and also the size if you can. For instance 50cm or 24inch, etc. If you don't know the size and it isn't written on your bike somewhere I would list your height. These are all terms I search for when searching for a bike (because I'm looking for a particular size for a tall person).

Generally people buy bikes in the spring, so you may have better luck/get more money than now unless you're near a college campus.

To computech_apolloniajames's point, I am weary of buying used because of the stolen bike racket. If I were buying I'd probably check the serial number and crosscheck it against stolen bike registries. However, if you have the original receipt or, frankly, don't fit the profile of a bike thief you probably don't have to worry much. Most people in the market for a women's bike that originally retails for so little wouldn't think about such things.
posted by Bunglegirl at 8:09 AM on August 6, 2014

I'd clean it up or buy a bike nerd friend a six pack to go over it and try to get $100 for it with the original front wheel. Then I'd try to get $50 for the generator front wheel and light.

I totally agree about having good pictures and some basic measurements. I like to see the whole bike, the front and rear derailleurs, and the condition of the saddle.

I might hold on to it until closer to when students move back on to campus. In that case, I might even ask $150.
posted by advicepig at 11:10 AM on August 6, 2014

I would get the $50 tuneup and list that bike for $100 with the original front wheel on it. Then, list the generator hub wheel separately because it could be a totally different audience.

Post at least six photos of the bike. Use natural light and make sure they are all in focus:
1. Side view, bike facing to the right (so the chain is visible), shot against a simple, light background with no harsh shadows.
2. 3/4 view from front, shot from close to the ground. This makes the bike look powerful!
3. Rear derailleur shot from back of bike (to show that the hanger is straight)
4. Rear cassette, shot from side
5. Front brakes
6. Rear brakes

In addition to listing the size of the bike, it's also very useful to list the standover height. (Distance from the ground to the place on the top tube where your crotch would hit) Good luck!
posted by oxisos at 5:56 PM on August 6, 2014

Thanks, everyone! I'll let you know what I end up doing with it.
posted by fussbudget at 5:39 PM on August 8, 2014

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